From Back to the Future to The Jetsons, you don’t have to be Jay Leno to realize auto technology is simply fascinating. Development of hybrid, electric, and even driverless cars has been underway for years, not just in Detroit, but in the tech capital of the world --Silicon Valley, California. This is where Breakout’s Jeff Macke sat down with Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Renault and Nissan.
The Renault-Nissan alliance is the fourth largest automaker in the world, but Nissan alone sold nearly 5 million vehicles in 2012, which grew its business 5.8% year-over-year. Earlier this year, the company joined other automakers like Ford (F), Volkswagen and BMW in the Valley, opening a research lab with 60 new engineers set to be hired in the next three years. They’ve named it NRC-SV (Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley).
“It is totally normal that all car manufacturers have some kind of presence in Silicon Valley,” says Ghosn. “I think it’s a basic condition. What you do here is going to give you an edge.”
At NRC-SV, Ghosn says the focus is on auto technology for self-driving vehicles, Internet connected cars, and perfecting their 100% electric car, the Nissan Leaf.
As of February, there were just over 50,000 Leafs sold worldwide. The numbers are growing slowly, and it seems the challenges are being met at the same pace.
“One of the main headwinds to the development of the electric car is where is the charging infrastructure?” says Ghosn. “People who have tried the electric car, heard about the electric car, are hesitating to jump into this technology mainly because of the infrastructure which is called the range anxiety.”Read More »from Nissan Revving Up R&D in Battle for Car of the Future